This past weekend I replaced both rear wheel hub/bearing assemblies. The first one took about 2.5 hours, the second one about an hour. The reason for the time difference was familiarizing myself as to what had to be done to remove the old bearing. Follow the FSM instructions along with my suggestions.
This job isn't as easy as the FSM would lead you to believe, at least in my case. Years of rusting made the job so much harder that if I wasn't adventurous, I would have had a shop do it. If you've worked on suspensions before, like I have, this job should hold no surprises for you.
You are going to need the right tools. I’ve seen some people claim that the axle nut requires a 34mm socket. Mine was 32mm, and I used a DEEP impact socket along with a 1,000ft.lb impact wrench (it needed every bit of that torque, too!). The four 17mm bolts on the trailing arm required a universal joint and various lengths of extensions or else you will have to remove the rear shock/strut or you may end up rounding the bolt heads. There just wasn’t much room to get an impact wrench in there, so I needed these accessories. I had impact-rated tools for all of this, so keep that in mind.
Let's begin with some special tips.
1.) My half shaft/axle threads were so corroded that the cotter pin and retainer were unrecognizable. I carefully chipped away at them to remove the bulk of the rust and hardware pieces while being mindful of the threads. 2.) I used a large flat blade screwdriver to gently pry against the two top bolts and the sensor finger tabs (they look like a "T"). Go slow and easy on each side, little by little, and it will come out no problem. My hands are too big to fit in that confined area, so I used a screwdriver. Tuck this connector safely out of the way. 3.) On the new hub, you may want to test fit the sensor clip. Mine had to be spread open a little to fit the connector. Doing this before final assembly will save some time and aggravation. 4.) I recommend spraying the hardware (careful of the brake system surfaces) in rust penetrant for about a week. On a newer vehicle not in the rust belt, the FSM instructions might have been very easy to execute, but not so in my case. It required a big hammer.
And here we go…
After removing the wheel speed sensor connection, the axle nut, and the four trailing arm bolts, the hub wouldn't budge at all. The FSM says to remove the bottom brake caliper bolt and tilt the caliper out of the way. I removed the entire caliper and hung it out of the way (had to). Remove the rotor. I then took my 3lb drilling hammer and rapped on the front and rear of the brake caliper bosses, rocking the assembly back and forth away from the trailing arm, until the hub/parking brake assembly broke free of the corrosion. It didn't take a lot of force to do this, and you don't want to deform the caliper bracket. I just made sure I held onto the brake backing plate so when it did break free, the parking brake cable wouldn't be stressed when the entire assembly dropped (the half shaft should still hold it somewhat). Pull the assembly off of the half shaft and keep it supported. This next part made me cringe because there was no going back. While holding the parking brake backing plate with one hand, I pounded out the hub from the rear with my 3lb hammer. This took some doing and I'm sure the wheel speed sensor area on the old hub was destroyed, but the hub dropped out.
I cleaned the rust off of all the mating surfaces with a wire brush and an oily rag. To install the new hub you will have to support the parking brake assembly and hub together while getting the four bolts started after placing these parts over the half shaft. Be sure the speed sensor clip is oriented toward the top. You could also thread on the axle nut to keep everything together for this step, but mine was too corroded to do this easily. It is a little tricky to get everything lined up for the bolts, but it comes together with some patience and finesse. Before tightening the four bolts, be sure the hub is properly nested in the bracket recess and everything is squared up. You’ll know what I mean when you see it. Tighten the four bolts a little at a time going in a cross pattern. If the parking brake cable ferrule pulled out of the trailing arm, seat that back in there to protect the cable.
Follow the FSM torque schedule and be sure everything was re-assembled properly before a test drive.
I'll do my best to answer questions.